More eSchool, fewer exchange students: Central Okanagan schools see COVID-19 related changes - InfoNews

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More eSchool, fewer exchange students: Central Okanagan schools see COVID-19 related changes

Empty teachers desk at the front of an empty classroom at McGee Secondary school in Vancouver, B.C. Friday, Sept. 5, 2014.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
September 16, 2020 - 6:30 PM

Pandemic concerns have made way for some significant changes in the makeup of local schools.

As of Sept. 11, the Central Okanagan school district is up 139 students from last year with 22,403 students registered. The higher number is still 141 less than the district’s spring budget projection, Kevin Kardaal, superintendent of schools said, in an email.

“We have seen an increase in registrations in eSchool BC with 293 registered in the new K-5 program and 245 registered in K-9 as of Sept.11,” he said. “We have more requests but have created a waitlist as we hire the additional 20 FTE teaching staff and organize the school. We expect to be able to accommodate most of those on the waitlist soon.”

There are similar numbers of students taking courses in the Grade 10 to 12 program (cross enrolled with their catchment secondary school).

All in all, 97 per cent of students attending in-class instruction and three per cent are doing remote learning.

Another significant change will be the roster of foreign students.

The Central Okanagan Public Schools' International Education Program continues to be attractive but Kardaal wrote in a report going to the school board tonight, Sept. 16, that it will be a "very challenging year due to COVID-19 and the associated border closures and travel restrictions."

There were 589 students confirmed to travel to the Central Okanagan for the upcoming school year.

"To date we have 157 fee paying students who have arrived for the 2020/2021 school year, and another 247 students who are still planning to come if they are able to enter Canada," he wrote. "Many other students have delayed to the 2021/2022 year instead of outright cancelling their experience abroad."

The long-term and short-term program students currently in Canada represent approximately 136 FTE.

Those students who are still planning to arrive in Quarter 2 and beyond for this school year would bring the total to 285 FTE for the 2020/2021 school year.

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